Author Archive | Good German

Nihilistic Mindfulness

Harry Koopman (CC BY 2.0)

Harry Koopman (CC BY 2.0)

Andrew Gonsalves writing at Don’t Feed the Animals:

I’ve been bad. I haven’t practiced meditating in a long time and I would easily classify most of my thoughts during the day as “mindless.” That is, of course, the opposite of “mindful.” Mindfulness is a skill that takes a fair amount of work to acquire. The most recognized route to mindfulness is through meditation, wherein you practice acknowledging your thoughts for what they are and then let them go. This leads to what is often called being “in the moment,” a state where you neither pine for the past, nor mull about the future, but instead appreciate your here and now.

The benefits of mindfulness meditation are so numerous that it may as well be considered a superpower (as close as you can get to one in this world). From various health improvements to a calmer, happier disposition, mindfulness will likely improve your life, if only a little bit.

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Believing That Life Is Fair Might Make You a Terrible Person

Bryon Lippincott (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Bryon Lippincott (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Oliver Burkeman writes at the Guardian:

If you’ve been following the news recently, you know that human beings are terrible and everything is appalling. Yet the sheer range of ways we find to sabotage our efforts to make the world a better place continues to astonish. Did you know, for example, that last week’s commemorations of the liberation of Auschwitz may have marginally increased the prevalence of antisemitism in the modern world, despite being partly intended as a warning against its consequences? Or that reading about the eye-popping state of economic inequality could make you less likely to support politicians who want to do something about it?

These are among numerous unsettling implications of the “just-world hypothesis”, a psychological bias explored in a new essay by Nicholas Hune-Brown at Hazlitt. The world, obviously, is a manifestly unjust place: people are always meeting fates they didn’t deserve, or not receiving rewards they did deserve for hard work or virtuous behaviour.

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Assassination as Policy in Washington and How It Failed, 1990-2015

Lauri Heikkinen (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Lauri Heikkinen (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Andrew Cockburn writes at TomDispatch:

As the war on terror nears its 14th anniversary — a war we seem to be losing, given jihadist advances in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen — the U.S. sticks stolidly to its strategy of “high-value targeting,” our preferred euphemism for assassination.  Secretary of State John Kerry has proudly cited the elimination of “fifty percent” of the Islamic State’s “top commanders” as a recent indication of progress. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi himself, “Caliph” of the Islamic State, was reportedly seriously wounded in a March airstrike and thereby removed from day-to-day control of the organization. In January, as the White House belatedly admitted, a strike targeting al-Qaeda leadership in Pakistan also managed to kill an American, Warren Weinstein, and his fellow hostage, Giovanni Lo Porto.

More recently in Yemen, even as al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula took control of a key airport, an American drone strike killed Ibrahim Suleiman al-Rubaish, allegedly an important figure in the group’s hierarchy. 

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Hillary Clinton is Not a Feminist

Mike Mozart (CC BY 2.0)

Mike Mozart (CC BY 2.0)

Sophie Stephenson writes at CounterPunch:

Hillary Clinton says she’s a feminist, and claimed, astonishingly, while promoting her book “Hard Choices” last year:

“Women and girls … [are] central to our foreign policy,” saying that countries that value the rights of women are “less likely to breed extremism.”

However this statement is completely at odds with her actions as Secretary of State, such as with Libya – of which it has been said was her own project rather than Obama’s – where she put her own vile agenda ahead of the rights of the nation’s women, which were until that point light-years ahead of most other Middle Eastern countries. Since the death of Gaddafi, the rights of Libyan women have been rolled back by decades, with them now having to leave the house covering their heads, if not also their faces. It should be noted that the leader of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) – Abdelhakim Belhadj – whose group was backed by NATO air strikes and who afterwards had his photograph taken with Washington’s leading warmongers John McCain and Lindsey Graham, is now said to be leading ISIS in Libya.

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An Introduction to Foraging

Bauhinia

Bauhinia

Green Deane writes at Eat the Weeds:

There is such a thing as a free lunch, or almost free: The edible wild plants around you.

With a little specialized knowledge and a “guidance” system you can learn to spot edible plants where you live, even in a city. You can do it on your own but it’s better to learn from someone showing you the way. I’m confident you can do it. You only need to learn about a few plants, not every plant you see. And I’ll also tell you where you can learn from a teacher, usually for free. (You may also want to read “Foraging for Beginners“.)

So let’s get started.

You need to know something about foraging, and something about wild plants. Plants are really easy to tell apart. In this blog you’ll read about how to think like a forager. Remember, you’re not trying to learn all of botany or name every plant you see, just the tasty edibles in your area.

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Debunking the Debunkers of October Surprise

81oYiGW8hKL._SL1350_Y’know how a bunch of Republicans sent a letter to Iran a few weeks ago?  It got me thinking about history…

Robert Parry, writing at Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting in 2013:

Editor’s Note: This is an excerpt from investigative reporter Robert Parry’s new book, America’s Stolen Narrative. One of the book’s storylines examines corporate media’s role in squelching investigation into whether Ronald Reagan’s presidential campaign in 1980 went behind President Jimmy Carter’s back to contact Iranian officials then holding 52 Americans hostage, a controversy dubbed the October Surprise.

When the possibility of a serious October Surprise investigation emerged in the latter half of 1991, an intimidating phalanx of powerful players was arrayed against it, from Ronald Reagan’s many defenders, to the sitting President George H.W. Bush, to David Rockefeller’s business and government circles, to past and present officers in the CIA, to the Israeli government.

If Congress conducted a tough-minded investigation, there was no telling where it might go and who might be harmed.

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On Madonna & The Entitlement of White Women

"On the left is Willi Ninja, known as the 'Godfather of Vogue' and star of Paris is Burning. On the right, Madonna."

“On the left is Willi Ninja, known as the ‘Godfather of Vogue’ and star of Paris is Burning. On the right, Madonna.”

Britni de la Cretaz writes:

By now you’ve probably seen the clip of what can only be described as Madonna sexually assaulting Drake onstage at Coachella. It’s gross and I’m not going to post the link here, but feel free to Google it if you’re so inclined (trigger warning for those of you going off to watch it). There are a lot of conversations to be had about this incident, and many of them are happening. An important one worth considering is how the reactions to this event would have been different if an older, (white) male artist had done this to a younger (Black), female artist, and I’m willing to bet they’d have been quite different. But the discussion that I want to pick up on right now is one I started thinking about on Twitter and one that my friend Jay Dodd touched on with his piece.

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Can ‘Ghosts’ Cause Bad Air?

Kevin Dooley (CC BY 2.0)

Kevin Dooley (CC BY 2.0)

Via ScienceDaily:

A team of Clarkson University researchers is studying the possible links between reported hauntings and indoor air quality.

Associate Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering Shane Rogers said human experiences reported in many hauntings are similar to mental or neurological symptoms reported by some individuals exposed to toxic molds. It is known that some fungi, such as rye ergot fungus, may cause severe psychosis in humans.

The links between exposure to toxic indoor molds and psychological effects in people are not well established, however, Rogers said. Notably, many hauntings are associated with structures that are prime environments to harbor molds or other indoor air quality problems.

“Hauntings are very widely reported phenomena that are not well-researched,” he said. “They are often reported in older-built structures that may also suffer poor air quality. Similarly, some people have reported depression, anxiety and other effects from exposure to biological pollutants in indoor air.

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The Redundancy of the Dark Enlightenment

800px-Flammarion

Brett Stevens writes at Alternative Right:

We live in an age of trends. For this reason, people are constantly inventing new “movements” which claim to be different, but are at a logical level identical to the older ones. By “at a logical level,” I mean comparing the structure and function or their ideas and not their surface appearance. Appearance is always misleading and geared toward concealing the fundamental sameness of things.

Currently the roiling trend on the internet is movements like the “Dark Enlightenment,” “Neo-reaction” and “red pill” as well as various “third way” movements. Each proclaims itself to be a new and untested idea, knowing that its audience craves novelty. And yet, if you dig below the level of appearance and look at the structure of the arguments of each group, you find something very far from new.

However, these groups have a lot vested in not admitting this.

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